This three-day, 28.7-mile out-and-back starts with a quad-burning climb over Appleton Pass—and leads to a chain of a dozen backcountry soakers above Boulder Creek. Climb east along the Sol Duc River to a three-way junction at mile 6.9. Turn left for a 2.1-mile grind, gaining more than 1,900 feet, to your first night’s camp on Appleton Pass.
The second day, descend steep switchbacks to the banks of Boulder Creek and follow it northeast 1.7 miles. Lounge in the 80- to 100-degree hot springs at mile 14.4—fringed with sword fern and Oregon grape and shaded by towering western red cedar, hemlocks, and firs—before sleeping at the Boulder Creek campsites 100 yards away.
INFO For information on weather and current trail, camp, and road conditions, go to nps.gov/olym/planyourvisit/current-conditions.htm.
PERMIT A wilderness permit is required for all overnight camping in the backcountry. For more details, go to nps.gov/olym/planyourvisit/wilderness-trip-planner.htm
CONTACT Olympic National Park, (360) 565-3130; nps.gov/olym/
- Distance: 46.2
Location: 47.969755, -123.865228
From Sol Duc trailhead, follow Lovers Lane Trail to the southeast.
Location: 47.95178, -123.820381
Continue southeast on Sol Duc River Trail toward Sol Duc Falls.
Location: 47.952541, -123.8186
Stop to check out Sol Duc Falls where the river splits into three parallel channels and plummets into a pinched, moss-dusted gorge.
Location: 47.932562, -123.750858
At the trail fork, bear left on Appleton Pass Trail.
Location: 47.938427, -123.724337
Appleton Pass. Optional: Set up camp in one of the sites (permits required).
Location: 47.938887, -123.719187
Descend a series of switchbacks on the north side of Appleton Pass. Look for Oyster Lake to the east.
Location: 47.946419, -123.719015
Mt. Appleton rises directly to the west.
Location: 47.968836, -123.715153
Cross Boulder Creek, then follow the trail east, paralleling the river.
Location: 47.977785, -123.693073
Boulder Creek Campground is about 100 yards from the hot springs.
Location: 47.976119, -123.690326
Soak in the dozen hot spring pools along the trail. Tip: The higher in elevation the pools are, the hotter the water.